Yes, you are reading this correctly: monkeys as full-time caregivers, or “butlers.” A specific, smaller version, called the capuchin monkey, which you may recognize from Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones, is raised in a human home as an infant. When old enough, the monkeys attend Monkey College in Boston for 18-24 months where they learn to perform simple tasks, such as setting up a drink of water, fetching an out of reach object, and turning the pages of a book. Probably the most beneficial of all the tasks it can provide, to the usually isolated and homebound recipient, is companionship.
Originally developed in 1979 by a doctor looking to aid quadriplegics in their every day lives, Helping Hands has grown into a thriving national non-profit that has received support from The National Science Foundation, the Veterans Administration, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the US Government. Through the support of generous donors and volunteers, Helping Hands has been able to provide these specially trained service animals and their lifetime support free of charge to their recipients.
This is a wonderful program to look into if you or someone you know are in need. Some of the videos on their website are quite touching.